There’s something about the best men’s tracksuits, comfortable as they may be, that just feels more purposeful than a sweatsuit. The fabric is denser and more structured, and there’s a jacket involved—one that you have to go to the trouble of putting on and zipping up, rather than just slipping over your head like a hoodie. And then there are all the baked-in associations. Tracksuits are uniforms for people who get shit done efficiently and ruthlessly: elite athletes, UK grime rappers, mall-walking senior citizens determined to stay in shape, tough guys stretching from the Russian section of Brighton Beach all the way to actual Russia. Oh, yeah, and they also look really, really dope—leisurely and relaxed, but still plenty smart and distinctive.
Tracksuits are so essential right now that literally every brand on the planet makes their own swishy, striking take. That might sound like a good thing, only the actual number of available options is so vast that it’s honestly sort of anxiety-inducing—and lord knows you don’t need any more of that at the moment. So we did you a solid and surveyed hundreds of versions, from the tiniest underground streetwear labels to the oldest luxury fashion houses to the biggest athletic conglomerates, and narrowed it down to these: the 21 best men’s tracksuits in 2021. Pick the one that’s right for you, get into it pronto, and give your tried-and-true sweats a well-earned break.
The Best Tracksuit, Period
Were you expecting something else? Since 1967, when Adidas debuted its first tracksuit on the lanky frame of German soccer legend Franz Beckenbauer, there’s been no sportswear ensemble more omnipresent in our culture. From Run D.M.C. to Korn, Henry Hill to Chas Tenenbaum, the sheer simple cool of the three-striped zip jacket and matching stretchy pants hasn’t just endured across five decades—it’s snowballed. And the fact that you can get in on all that timeless style for just over $100 total means there’s no other place we could’ve put this icon besides the very top of the heap.
The Best Advanced-Level Tracksuit
Needles has been one of the most widely admired and deeply inventive menswear labels in Japan for decades, but it wasn’t until A$AP Rocky began wearing their butterfly-embroidered track pants on the regular a few years ago that they had a genuine hit on their hands. Since then, they’ve iterated on those coveted OG pants—with their slouchy, wide-legged fit and thick side stripes—and the matching high-necked jacket in all manner of materials and patterns: rich velvets, wild leopard prints, even faux snakeskin. Right now, though, our favorite version is this one, in a charmingly retro plaid pattern that’s been flipped in shades of blue and grey.
The Best Retro Tracksuit
Sportswear design in the ’90s wasn’t terribly subtle. It was loud visually, of course—with more searing neons than the Vegas strip—but also aurally, because it was generally made using the swishiest, crinkliest nylon available. This Windows 95 screensaver of a Nike set hearkens back to that golden age of mullets on the tennis court, cartoon characters on the hardwood, and the wallpaper from your orthodontist’s office on the soccer pitch. If you’re looking to turn every head in every room you enter—or you’re just looking for something era appropriate to wear while you rewatch The Last Dance—this is the tracksuit for you.
The Best Even More Retro Tracksuit
Go back a decade or two earlier, and the tracksuits you’ll find are night-and-day to their ’90s successors. They were understated and crisp, and guys were more than happy to run around baring their untamed chest hair in ’em. Sergio Tacchini, the legendary Italian tennis player turned era-defining sportswear designer, might be most famous for cornering the tennis market in the late ’70s, but his namesake brand’s throwback tracksuit still holds up today. In a colorway now synonymous with the label, it’s a matching set that’ll help you harness the power of tennis player insouciance from decades bygone—on and off the courts.
The Best Velour Tracksuit
Velour tracksuits were inescapable in the aughts: there were the extra baggy ones that rappers wore in music videos—always from their own labels—and the tight cropped versions from Baby Phat and Juicy Couture that Nicole Richie and Lindsay Lohan would cruise around the Hollywood Hills in. Casablanca’s updated take thankfully resembles neither. It’s plenty plush and shiny, but it’s a whole lot more flatteringly tailored than, say, the kind Slim Shady used to rock at the Grammys. Combine the bang-on fit with that rich shade of burgundy and the sporty stripes on the sides, and you’ve got yourself an opulent tracksuit set fit for a king.
The Best Tracksuit, Emphasis on the “Suit”
Trying your darnedest to take this whole working-from-home situation as seriously as possible—while also, you know, still staying comfy? Todd Snyder’s elevated spin on a tracksuit can help. It’s cut from the same fine Italian wool Snyder uses to craft his always reliable suits, only transplanted onto a sportier silhouette. The subtle houndstooth announces that you really mean business; the elasticated cuffs show you’re sensible and adapting to the times.
The Best Tracksuit to Wear on a Night Out
Martin Asbjørn’s whole MO skews retro in the most literal sense of the word. The Danish designer gets a kick out of reinterpreting silhouettes from decades past by tweaking ’em to suit the whims of today’s consumer. (What, you thought all high-minded Scandinavians had to be hardcore minimalists?) Peep that perfect shade of egg yolk beige, those heavily-flared trousers, the large-and-in-charge collar: All of it adds up to a tracksuit made for boogying down without looking like a bit character from Boogie Nights.
The Best Tracksuit for Getting Papped In
What velour tracksuits were to the early 2000s, Gucci tracksuits were to the late 2010s. Alessandro Michele’s romantic, eccentric vision has helped reshape the fashion world at large, but his luxe tracksuits have struck a particularly strong chord with famous types: everybody from Jay-Z and Rihanna to Conor McGregor and the Hot Mugshot Guy has been spotted out in one of Michele’s signature monogrammed two-pieces. This newer striped iteration is decidedly more understated, but it’s still plenty extravagant—with a pricetag to match—and is absolutely the kind of thing you should buy to celebrate your first front page hit piece in the Daily Mail.
The Best Tracksuit of the Moment
There must be something in the water across the pond, because the latest crop of rising British design stars all seem to share a deep affinity for the tracksuit. But few bring quite the same degree of excitement to the style as Grace Wales Bonner. Over the last few years, the British wunderkind has made the silhouette a calling card, imbuing her tracksuits with Savile Row precision and nonchalant ease in equal measure. Her ongoing collaboration with Adidas (an authority in the tracksuit space if there ever was one) tends to yield at least a couple of versions that consistently sell out with the quickness, but the tracksuits from her mainline collection remain a showstopper, the rare insider-y flex actually worth every penny—or, er, pence.
12 More Tracksuits We Love
Come for the super-soft silk sateen, stay for the buttoned-strap stand collar.
Old-school banger, new-school brand.
Best paired with retro sneakers, tinted wraparound shades, and a thicket of unkempt chest hair.
A tracksuit with some serious horsepower.
A kaleidoscopic wool tracksuit ready-made for stunting on your schlubby cotton-clad homies.
Call us trackies, ’cause we’re obsessed with this Star Check.
Even outside of the perpetually casual Golden State, where Brownstone makes its tracksuits, a get-up this elegant could easily pass as formalwear.
If ever there was a brand that could turn the tracksuit into a bona fide it item it’d be Telfar, maker of the hottest it items on the whole damn planet.
Make Michael Chang proud.
An ’80s b-boy staple.
Nylon separates courtesy of the brand currently reinventing American fashion.
The best use of a silk scarf since the start of the Babushka Boi movement.